Re: PHIL: Extropianism: A Philosophy Without a Foundation

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Fri, 05 Mar 1999 03:44:18 -0600

Max More wrote:
> If we currently happen to all like tomato soup, I suppose that makes
> "liking tomato soup" part of what it is to be an extropian. What's gone
> wrong? See the preceding paragraph.

For that matter, we are all mere humans. It doesn't mean that being human is part of being an Extropian. Exactly the opposite, in fact; just because we don't yet have the technological capability to live up to our philosophy doesn't mean we ought to lower our standards.

In exactly the same sense, I feel that all use of force and coercion, initiatory or retaliatory, is undesirable; but I don't think the present unfair world permits the non-initiation of force. Even if you don't bomb a country until they bomb you, you'll still hit children who never did you any harm. And if Japan hadn't attacked and the US had followed a strictly Libertarian philosophy, the Axis would have conquered the world at a leisurely pace and then moved on to us.

> Still, of all the points you make, this one at least has the merit of
> hinting at a possible way of improving the definition and Principles. I've
> been considering a more systematic and hierarchical derivation of the
> current principles from fewer underlying ideas. However, I feel much
> reluctance to heading in that direction, since it lends itself to monistic
> and dogmatic system building.

Listen to those misgivings. A deep philosophical justification of Extropy from first principles is a nice thing to publish on your own account, but those of us who have our own complex personal philosophies would almost certainly disagree; it shouldn't be part of the *definition*. Besides, what if you're wrong?

--         Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.